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"You weren't supposed to abandon us!" Mitch shouted.

She backed away a bit, just beyond the reach of his sword, in case he got carried away and drew it. "I'm not sure we're doing the right thing anymore," she said. "I still believe in the original mission, but I don't trust the status information we're getting."

"You can't get much more reliable than reports straight from the capital," Mitch said. "Millions of people rely on this to make their decisions."

"Just because so many people rely on it, doesn't make it trustworthy. It just makes it important."

"Alright if you can't trust the Capital Post, who can you trust?"

"That's why I'm pulling out," she said. "I don't have a good answer for that anymore. If we don't get good information, all of our actions become suspect."

"You can't abandon the world Rain. It needs people like us, people who can make a difference. I thought you of all people would actually care."

"I do Mitch, I do. But here we are in the largest empire of our time, drawing information from one of the mouthpieces of the empire. Are you sure it's leading us to do the right thing?"

"Don't tell me you think it's propaganda and that you trust our enemies now. Don't do this to us."

"What if it's all propaganda Mitch? What if they are all lying, just to keep us running around and busy, out of the way so that we can't actually change anything?"

"You believe that Rain? Are you honestly going to stand there and tell me you believe that nonsense? What other superstitions are you going to try to push on me next? That I've been cursed for seven years by doing some silly one-thing-or-another?"

"You're not going to be convinced I guess. But this is why I'm dropping out. If you want to keep going, I guess I can't stop you. There isn't much we can accomplish by dropping out anyway."

"We need you Rain. You're the one that brought me in from the beginning. What are we supposed to do now that you're out?"

"Come with me Mitch," she said. "We'll figure something out."

"I can't do that now," he said. "My life belongs here. My friends, my home, my future. If you leave, you have nothing."

"If I leave, maybe I won't be manipulated into supporting a system I'm trying to fight."

"You're crazy, you know that Rain? You're absolutely crazy now. I don't know who got to you, but it's sad seeing how far you've fallen from the person I admired."

"It's okay Mitch, you can still come to me for some things," she said. "Just don't mention any current events because I won't believe a thing you say. You can still ask me about training, about principles."

"What good are principles if you don't believe in the reality they apply to?" he asked.

"Principles are timeless, reality changes. No matter how much reality changes, hopefully the principles would stay the same."

"Fine, I'll take whatever you're willing to offer," he said. "I was hoping for a bit more help than that though, considering it was you I came to see."

"I guess I can still teach you to walk but I'm no longer sure which roads are the right ones."

"Help us Rain," he said. "Help us figure out which are the right ones."

"Maybe Mitch, maybe," she replied. "But if you insist on taking the Capital Post as a reliable source, I'm going to have to make you question your assumptions."

"What is a reliable source then?" he asked.

"Maybe it's not something for anybody to judge."

"If nobody can judge what is or isn't real, what's the point of doing anything?" He sounded angry. "If I didn't know it was you, I'd suspect I was talking to someone making excuses for cold-hearted laziness."

"That's a valid criticism Mitch. We do have to be careful about that, but let's say everyone did think this way, that they could never tell what was or wasn't real. What do you think would happen?"

"You're definitely sounding crazy Rain. Everything would fall apart with thinking like that. How are we even able to live in a world if we're not sure it's real?"

"Are you able to live in the world when it's composed of lies?"

"Well, okay sure," he said. "But eventually the lies get exposed and we readjust how we react to reality."

"And if the lie never gets exposed?"

"What kind of apocalyptic thinking is this?" he asked. "Of course they all get exposed. Eventually."

"If you can live with a lie before it's exposed, can you live without faith in reality?"

"I suppose maybe," he said. "For a short period of time anyway. But you need to give us something to hold on to. In the long run, if we have nothing, why are we even living?"

"Good question," she said. "Why are you living now?"

"I want to make the world a better place, Rain. For both myself and everyone else. Sorry if that sounds too idealistic."

"And if it all goes away tomorrow?" she asked.

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